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Video: The Caribbean Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Monday, May 4, 2020

Speakers:

  • Amado Alejandro Báez, Executive Director of the Presidential Committee for COVID-19 Response and Public Health Advisor to the president of the Dominican Republic
  • Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Americas Society/Council of the Americas

The Dominican Republic's executive director of the Presidential Committee for COVID-19 response and public health advisor to the president spoke with Eric Farnsworth about the Caribbean response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Báez discussed how, from the beginning of the country's response to the public health crisis, the special task force he leads focused on building public-private partnerships to strengthen ties between healthcare entities, businesses, food distributors, philanthropies, technology, and even funeral services. He also spoke of the efforts towards chronic disease management and freeing up the healthcare system via measures such as preventative medicine distribution.

Another key point Báez made was the importance of working at the local level in these public-private partnerships, reinforcing the effectiveness of of a "bottom-up approach." The public health expert emphasized looking "beyond the now, bearing in mind we will have a second wave." He also covered the challenge between finding public health solutions amid economic solutions, saying "there is a trade-off, as an absolute health orientation will affect the economy, and not favorably...Ultimately, we need to intelligently understand what segments can be opened, whether based on productivity, expansion of essential services, safety, etcetera."